CA Access News

August 2012

    


In this Issue: Features | Advocate Advantage | Partner Spotlight | Calendar | Welcome New Partners | In the News | Interesting Information | Contact Us

 

Doctor Shortage Likely to Worsen With Health Law

By Annie Lowrey and Robert Pear
New York Times, July 28, 2012

In the Inland Empire, an economically depressed region in Southern California, President Obama's health care law is expected to extend insurance coverage to more than 300,000 people by 2014. But coverage will not necessarily translate into care: Local health experts doubt there will be enough doctors to meet the area's needs. There are not enough now.

Other places around the country, including the Mississippi Delta, Detroit and suburban Phoenix, face similar problems. The Association of American Medical Colleges estimates that in 2015 the country will have 62,900 fewer doctors than needed. And that number will more than double by 2025, as the expansion of insurance coverage and the aging of baby boomers drive up demand for care. Even without the health care law, the shortfall of doctors in 2025 would still exceed 100,000.

Health experts, including many who support the law, say there is little that the government or the medical profession will be able to do to close the gap by 2014, when the law begins extending coverage to about 30 million Americans. It typically takes a decade to train a doctor.

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HHS Report: Medicare Part D Premiums Unchanged Third Year in a Row

By Jenni Brewer
The Catalyst, August 7, 2012

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services released its projection for average Medicare Part D premiums for 2013: $30 per month -- 50 percent less than originally projected in 2004. This number marks the third straight year that Part D premiums have remained largely unchanged, saving beneficiaries approximately $600 per year.

Since going into effect in 2006, Part D has come in 43 percent below initial cost projections, making it one of the only programs within Medicare that is saving the government money. More than 40 million people with Medicare (90 percent of all beneficiaries) now have the option of comprehensive prescription drug coverage, which helps ensure high-quality and high-value health care for our most vulnerable citizens.

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Advocate Advantage

Now is the Time to Address Access to Care in Rural Areas

By John Kehoe

Over the past few weeks, a number of studies have materialized focusing on how to solve the dilemma of providing quality health care at the lowest possible cost. One of the biggest challenges is to provide quality professionals to serve a rapidly expanding consumer base with the population changes. One example is the Inland Empire region of California, made up of Riverside and San Bernardino counties.

The California Medical Association in a recent finding said, "People access the health care system through the emergency department rather than establishing a relationship with a primary care physician who might keep them from getting sicker."

The geographical area of the Inland Empire is larger than many countries in Europe. The new health care law will accelerate the demand for health services across the nation. A government council study has recommended that a given region have 60 to 80 primary care doctors per 100,000 residents and 85 to 106 specialists for the same base. The Inland Empire has 40 primary care doctors and 70 specialists per 100,000 residents -- the worst shortage in California in both cases. It is time for a concerted effort to be made to ensure the quality of professionals to keep pace with the growing demand.

There probably should be a "Fulbright" type of scholarship program developed to mobilize the interest of the America's youth and give them incentive to make the positive choice of entering the health services field and working in these underserved regions. This will ensure that quality standards are not sacrificed for the recruiting of talent from third-world academic institutions, versus mobilizing a new American talent base.

Partner Spotlight

MEND Named Nonprofit of the Year

Meet Each Need With Dignity (MEND) has been honored with the 2012 Governor's Volunteering and Service Award as California's Nonprofit of the Year. MEND was chosen by the office of the Governor and California Volunteers in recognition of its "service and innovation while addressing the increasing needs of the state of California." The award was presented in a July 31 ceremony at the Museum of Natural History to MEND president and CEO, Marianne Haver Hill (pictured above, from left, with MEND Board Chair, Susan Blumenfield, and California Volunteers Secretary of Service and Volunteering, Karen Baker).

View Video: Acceptance Speech

The award was created to honor a nonprofit group that "has shown an extraordinary ability to leverage volunteers in service to their organization." MEND does just that every day through its team of volunteers who provide food, clothing, medical and dental care, job training and other services to some 30,000 people living in poverty in the San Fernando Valley area of Los Angeles County.

The organization's 3,000 volunteers, equivalent to 75 full-time employees, provide 99% of its services. Together with community partners, they have made MEND a model for success in moving forward in a difficult economy. Over the past four years, MEND has been faced with huge increases in client applications for MEND services coupled with a challenging fundraising environment. In response, MEND doubled the number of partnerships with businesses, educational institutions, and community groups. Now more than 300 organizations provide volunteers and supplies to power MEND programs. As a result, MEND was able both to improve the quality of its services and to increase the number of clients served.

MEND was one of eight individuals or organizations honored this year by the California Volunteers, a state office that works to increase the number of Californians who serve as volunteers. To volunteer start here.

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Calendar



Check out our CPAT partner events occurring this month!


Were you unable to attend a CPAT event? All program materials are housed on our website, including the July 26 webinar on the California Health Benefit Exchange.



Would you like to see your organization's event listed? Contact Jason Dumont at jason@perrycom.com to help advertise your upcoming event.

Welcome New Partners

 

Join Now

Do you know a group who would be interested in joining CPAT? Please send your referrals to:

Northern California - Contact Jason Dumont at jason@perrycom.com

Southern California - Contact Brandon Stephenson at brandon@cerrell.com

In the News

Anti-SOD1 Immunization Delays Onset, Increases Lifespan in ALS Mice

Journal of Neuroscience, August 2012

Immunizing ALS mice against the mutant SOD1 protein delays disease onset and increases lifespan, according to research funded by The ALS Association and published this week in Journal of Neuroscience. "This study supports previous data demonstrating the potential of immunization as a treatment strategy," commented Lucie Bruijn, Ph.D., Chief Scientist for The ALS Association, "and furthermore describes the exact binding domain of the antibody on the mutant protein." The study, led by Janice Robertson, Ph.D. at the University of Toronto, Canada, provides crucial insight into the mechanism through which mutant SOD1 causes disease.

Read more

Businesses brace for health care cost increase, report says

By Kathryn Smith
POLITICO, August 8, 2012

It's not just Papa John's pizza that's going to get more expensive under the new health care law, a new survey of businesses found Wednesday.

Nearly two-thirds of employers expect to see a cost hike in their health plans when the Affordable Care Act goes into effect in 2014, and a quarter say they will have to make changes to their coverage to avoid penalties, according to the survey by the Mercer consulting firm.

Retail and hospitality industries, which typically employ larger numbers of part-time workers, are bracing for the biggest increase in costs -- 46 percent said they're expecting costs to increase by a minimum of 3 percent. The health care industry is close behind, with 40 percent expecting that increase in costs.

But very few employers surveyed -- 6 percent -- said they're likely to drop health coverage altogether as a result of the law, leaving employees to use the exchanges or the individual market. The great majority said they'd keep what they have now.

Read more

Interesting Information

Study finds slowing drop in youth tobacco use

By David Beasley
Reuters, August 9, 2012

The once-rapid decline in tobacco use among young people has slowed as cash-strapped states slash funding for anti-smoking campaigns, a federal study released on Thursday showed.

From 2009 to 2011, the percentage of high school students using tobacco dropped only slightly, to 23.2 percent from 23.9 percent, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said.

The decline was greater among middle school students, dropping to 7.1 percent from 8.2 percent, the CDC said.

Read more

 

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